Building foundations with Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry
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It was the whirling Manhattan art scene that brought Steve Pulimood and Payal Parekh together. They had both grown up in Maryland, Baltimore, but never actually met until they moved to New York. Having graduated in art history from Columbia University and studied Renaissance drawings at Oxford University, Pulimood started out as a critic, experiencing the buzz of the art deal when he purchased a Damien Hirst piece at the age of 18.
Parekh took a similar route, moving to London after college to work in Sotheby’s contemporary art department before returning to New York to work as a consultant to artists and buyers.
Earlier this year they teamed up to open a gallery. Pulimood came up with the gallery’s name, Room East, borrowing it from a magazine published 50 years ago by architect and designer Ettore Sottsass. Room East is now a key player in the vibrant Lower East Side art scene with its condensed cluster of galleries.
‘It was very important to me to start on a very strong footing, on a humble level with independent finance,’ says Pulimood, who currently has a thing for what he calls “painted abstraction”. ‘I want to show people that art is not simply a rich man’s sport.’
‘Art is now much more available on every level,’ agrees Parekh. ‘There are blue chip mega-galleries, and young start-up galleries like ours, places where buying art becomes something that is possible for everybody.
‘There is a very strong energy in the art world right now,’ she continues. ‘It’s very competitive, but also inspiring. We have a strong vision and a good business plan. We want to grow over time, create a legacy. This is a moment to make our dreams come true.’